Why Would You Use an Irrevocable Trust Over a Revocable Trust?

irrevocable trust vs. revocable trust

Estate planning can be a complex and daunting process, and it’s important to understand the various options available to you.

Trusts are one popular estate planning tool, and there are two main types: revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts. While both types offer benefits, there are situations where an irrevocable trust may be the better option.

At The Simone Law Firm, our experienced estate planning attorneys can help you navigate the complexities of trusts and guide you toward the right choice for your individual needs.

What Is a Trust?

Trusts are legal arrangements that allow a person—referred to as the grantor or settlor—to place their assets into a trust. This gives them control over how and when those assets should be used in order to achieve certain goals.

A revocable trust can be altered or revoked by its grantor at any time during its lifetime. An irrevocable trust cannot be changed or revised once it has been established.

Many people find revocable trusts more beneficial because they’re more flexible. However, irrevocable trusts have several advantages that make them valuable estate planning tools.

Advantages of Irrevocable Trusts

Here are four key reasons why someone would choose to use an irrevocable trust over a revocable trust:

  1. Protection from creditors — An irrevocable trust protects assets from creditors in most cases. This means that, if the grantor is sued or faces financial hardship, their assets will not be taken away because they have been placed in this type of trust.
  2. Avoidance of estate taxes Assets held in an irrevocable trust are not subject to taxation when transferring them upon death, so they can pass on more wealth to beneficiaries without being taxed heavily by the government.
  3. Asset protection — Irrevocable trusts offer asset protection due to the fact that assets within these trusts cannot be used as collateral for any debt obligations or other liabilities incurred by the grantor or their heirs.
  4. Control over distribution of assets — The terms of the irrevocable trust determine how assets will be distributed among beneficiaries after death, giving control to those who create it rather than allowing probate court judges to decide who gets what amount and when.

Tax Benefits of Irrevocable Trusts

Irrevocable trusts have better tax benefits than revocable trusts because they are not subject to taxes.

When someone puts their assets into an irrevocable trust, they are essentially giving up ownership of those assets and transferring them to the trustees or beneficiaries. As a result, any income generated by those assets will no longer be reported on the grantor’s personal taxes. Instead, it will be taxed at a lower rate within the trust.

Additionally, certain types of irrevocable trusts can protect against creditors and lawsuits against the grantor, whereas revocable trusts do not offer this protection.

Therefore, if someone wants to reduce their overall tax burden or protect themselves from potential legal action, they should consider using an irrevocable trust instead of a revocable trust.

FAQ: Irrevocable Trusts

What types of assets can be placed in an irrevocable trust?

Most types of assets can be placed in an irrevocable trust, including:

  • Cash
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Real estate
  • Business interests

However, certain types of assets—such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies—may not be appropriate for an irrevocable trust, as they already have their own tax advantages and beneficiaries.

Who can benefit from an irrevocable trust?

An irrevocable trust can benefit a wide range of people, including the grantor, their family members, and their chosen beneficiaries. It can be used to transfer assets to heirs while minimizing tax liabilities and protecting the assets from creditors.

Additionally, it can be used to support a charitable cause or organization, as the assets held in the trust can be used to make donations over time.

What are some common uses of irrevocable trusts?

Irrevocable trusts are used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Estate planning Irrevocable trusts can be used to transfer wealth to future generations while minimizing estate and gift taxes.
  • Medicaid planning — Assets in an irrevocable trust are typically not counted for Medicaid eligibility purposes, which can help individuals to qualify for government benefits.
  • Charitable giving — Irrevocable trusts can be used to make charitable donations while providing tax benefits to the grantor and beneficiaries.

Contact The Simone Law Firm Today

Depending on one’s needs and objectives, an irrevocable or revocable trust may be the best choice. Irrevocable trusts offer several benefits, such as asset protection and tax advantages, that are unavailable with a revocable trust.

However, revocable trusts also have their own unique benefits. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which type of trust fits your specific situation. It’s helpful to consult with an estate planning attorney for advice about setting up a trust that aligns with your goals and wishes.

Contact The Simone Law Firm today to schedule your consultation.

Author Bio

michael s. simone, esq.

Michael Simone is the Founder and Managing Partner of the Simone Law Firm, an estate planning law firm in Cinnaminson, NJ. With more than 20 years of experience in criminal defense, he has represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including estate planning, elder law, probate, real estate, and business law.

Michael received his Juris Doctor from the Rutgers University School of Law and is a member of the New Jersey Bar Association.

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